Guest Blog: Get inspection ready – how to improve your care service’s rating

Guest blog from Mick Feather, ex-CQC inspector and Care Business Manager of Citation

CQC inspections will recommence in full in September, with a particular focus on ‘safety, access and leadership’.

In advance of inspections, the CQC will be collating as much information as possible, reinforcing the importance of making your care service ‘virtually inspectable’.

Though we understand it’s still a difficult time for providers, with no doubt more challenges on the horizon, now’s the time to start thinking ahead and getting inspection ready.

Here are some key things to consider to help you in your preparations.

Health & Safety

Health & Safety can be a minefield at the best of times, let alone with all the extra considerations that COVID-19 has brought.

But, it’s critical to make sure you have sufficient measures in place, to keep you on the right side of the law, as well as keep people in your care, your care workers, and your service safe.

One of your biggest responsibilities is making sure your settings are COVID-secure and that you’ve performed your COVID-19 specific risk assessment. The government’s guidance also states “if possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so”.

There’s lots of key areas to think about, including:

  • Ensuring appropriate assistive technology, aids and other equipment are available and fitted so that people can live as independently as possible;
  • Making sure all staff receive training and understand basic Health & Safety issues – including fire safety, moving and handling and basic life support;
  • Ensuring you have robust safeguarding systems in place to protect people from abuse, neglect, discrimination, harassment and breaches of dignity and respect;
  • Preventing and controlling infections to ensure people in your care are protected;
  • Making sure people in your care are supported to eat and drink enough to maintain a balanced diet;

And that’s just the start – take a read of Citation’s ‘Health & Safety in Care’ guide for some of the key areas we look at when inspecting the Health & Safety of our care clients.

Quality assurance

Quality is key. If it takes an inspector to identify any gaps in your service, chances are your service isn’t outstanding.

You should ensure you’ve got a robust quality assurance system in place that allows you to effectively monitor the standards of your service. Make sure your system is easy to manage and that you demonstrate it to others in a way in which they’ll understand.

In addition, care providers should continually identify areas in need of improvement and put action plans in place to implement the required changes.

Our other top tips include:

  • Check any audits – like Health & Safety, infection control and medicines – are fully documented and provide the basis to make any follow-up actions;
  • Keep care plans, daily records, Medication Administration Records (MAR) and cleaning schedules up-to-date and complete;
  • Carefully analyse the results of any audits to establish any emerging patterns or trends;
  • Make available all records, documents and certificates, that demonstrate your equipment, services and checks have been completed.

Vision and values

Home Instead Market Harborough (taken pre-Covid)

Your service’s vision and values should flow through every element of what you do. For them to be truly effective, they must be encompassed by all staff, at all times.

Clearly communicate your vision and values to all employees and managers, e.g. in one-to-ones, team meetings, videos or posters.

Your vision and values should be at the heart of your service, so make sure they’re supported by appropriate policies, procedures and employee handbooks.

Other key areas to think about include:

  • During the recruitment process, clearly communicating your vision and values to potential employees;
  • Ensuring all employees understand their roles and responsibilities, and “live” your service’s values;
  • Making sure your vision results in positive outcomes for the people in your care;
  • Ensuring employees feel supported, respected and valued by managers at all times;
  • Embedding a set of values that include involvement, compassion, dignity, independence, respect, equality, wellbeing, safety and a person-centred culture.

Click here to visit Citation’s website to find out more.